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Alexandra Lange

The Mysteries of Retail




I loved this the last time, design bestsellers and bombs, via New York Times Home section. These are the stores that are carefully curating their selection, not selling the same things that you can get online for less, and, I bet, exist in quirky spaces of their own.

However, their customers clearly exist in a different retail universe than I do. I don’t spend more than $100 easily and certainly not for something breakable, without function, or something for my kid that costs more than anything I own. So I am not a bit surprised that the bowl of melted army men (above) did not fly off the shelves along with the other bombs (boat seat, $42 tea towel). Hipsters without children are gullible, so I can see them buying Sally Voor’s leather piglets, not realizing that it is a rare child that prefers to stand books on end. The stackable melamine bowls and measuring spoons, however, are genius. I think the Conran Shop is right to bet on the red bench, mostly because it doesn’t look so modern. But: more bowls, candlesticks, and tabletop ornaments for hundreds of dollars? Hasn’t everyone in America been through the lemon centerpiece phase, and realized that the center of your table can just remain open?



Posted in: Media, Product Design

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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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